Monday, December 27, 2010

Pre-filed bills help get the year started

Bluffton Today

Finally, we seemed to have gotten our collective minds off politics and the upcoming legislative session and onto this great holiday season. I say this because we processed a mere 103 constituent contacts last week. After being in the multiple hundreds of calls for months, it was a little unsettling to get only a hundred calls. It would seem that most of us are out in the community shopping, socializing, and celebrating the season, not to mention the return of seasonal weather. Good for us.

We will be running a four-day schedule this week, giving Kathy and Mary a little time to prepare for the New Year events. We will be in the office from Monday through Thursday with business as usual.

Our delegation has been busy prefiling bills and getting ready to hit the ground running on the second Tuesday of the new year. We are introducing several economic packages that range from efforts to secure the Heritage Golf Classic to issues dealing with the port situation on the Savannah River.

One of things we are introducing that is a direct result of your input has to do with the “Semper Fi” license tags we want to create. We have a tremendous Marine Corp presence in Beaufort County with the recruit depot at Parris Island and the Marine Corp Air Station. In addition to the active duty component, there are also a huge number of military retirees in our area. I take a great deal of satisfaction in recognizing the military contribution to not only the security of our nation but to the economy of our county and our region.

Another of the initiatives I plan to continue in the next session has to do with some of the language or features in the South Carolina code of laws. There are certain aspects of the code that are outmoded or useless, and some that are no longer representative of our political culture. These need to be excised so that our laws are not constrained by the superfluous or bloated by some of the nonsense that may have been on the books for a hundred years. This is the legislative equivalent of former NYC Mayor Giuliani’s norm setting “broken windows” policy.

In a small housekeeping matter, a certain number of the calls we have received over the last month or so have had to do with property tax assessment, specifically the difference between the 4% and 6% assessment levels. This is an important matter, which must be seriously addressed, but unfortunately, it is a county matter. The good news is that there is an assessor’s office in the county complex on the Bluffton Parkway. The office is staffed by knowledgeable folks, eager to assist you.
Finally, both Sheriff Tanner and Bluffton Police Chief McAllister will have every available officer on the road for the upcoming New Year’s celebration. If you are tempted to drink and drive, please reconsider. Better yet, have a non-drinking, designated driver that will make all the transportation decisions for your party. There are grave consequences for DUI in our state, as well there should be. So please be responsible in your celebrations and join us for a brighter, more prosperous New Year.